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  • Writer's pictureParkway Prosthodontics


Does sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s office make you nervous? Or worse, does just the mere thought of visiting the dentist fill you with a sense of dread? You are not alone. In fact, according to research reviewed by faculty at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, nearly 40 million U.S. adults avoid visiting the dentist because of anxiety and fear. A dental appointment should not be a nightmare scenario – and with modern dental sedation, it does not have to be! Keep reading to learn how a sedation dentist in Jacksonville can help ease your anxiety during your next visit and to find out if you are a good candidate for dental sedation.


Two calming sedation techniques often used in the dentist office include nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation:

  1. NITROUS OXIDE | Nitrous oxide – also known as “laughing gas” – is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that helps put patients at ease throughout their dental appointment. Administered through a mask that fits comfortably over the nose, this mild gas does not put patients to sleep; instead, relaxed patients are still able to move and respond to their dentist through the dental exam or procedure. Nitrous oxide wears off swiftly, so patients can return to their normal day shortly after their dental appointment is complete.

  2. ORAL CONSCIOUS SEDATION | Usually administered in the form of a pill taken one hour prior to a dental procedure, oral conscious sedation produces a light to moderate level of sedation. Similar to nitrous oxide, patients who opt for this type of sedation remain conscious during dental work but feel deeply relaxed and unbothered by their surroundings. Often provided for restorative treatments such as fillings or root canals, oral conscious sedation but can also be used effectively with patients who suffer from severe dental anxiety during routine checkups. Because the effects of oral conscious sedation can linger for several hours, patients should arrange for a trusted friend or family member to transport them to and from the dentist’s office.


Most adults can safely be sedated under the supervision of their dentist. Patients with certain conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and respiratory diseases may need to seek clearance from their doctor before undergoing sedation.

Patients that experience any of the following may especially benefit from dental sedation:

Trouble sleeping the night before a dental appointmentFeeling anxious when sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s officeFeeling physically ill or crying at the mere thought of visiting the dentistPanicking when a dentist places instruments in your mouth during a dental exam.

In addition to the challenges posed by dental anxiety and dental phobia, sedation can help patients who need extensive treatment, have difficulty sitting for long periods of time or have a strong gag reflex.

Your oral health is too important to let fear or other issues prevent you from seeing a dental professional. Whether you are scheduled for a long treatment or just feel jittery at the thought of visiting the dentist, dental sedation can ensure your next appointment is a breeze.


A specialist in aesthetic and implant dentistry, Dr. Kathryn Ryan helps patients in Jacksonville restore the appearance and function of their smiles. The graduate of the University of Florida College of Dentistry’s Graduate Prosthodontics program offers nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation to patients who experience dental anxiety. Patients new and old can contact Dr. Ryan by visiting the Parkway Prosthodontics website or calling (904) 204-1628.

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